and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.2 Peter 1:7(NASB)
We are to grow in grace - to grow in godliness and Christlikeness. We are to display the fruit of the Spirit in the bond of peace and we are to demonstrate the gracious characteristics that only come from above, in our everyday life and pattern of living.
As children of our Heavenly Father, we are to function in the divine nature that is ours, by faith in Christ. The Lord Jesus lived his life, from start to finish, in the way that God ordained that mankind should live from the beginning.
Although Christ was fully deity and equal with the Father, He became a little lower than the angels and lived his life in subjection to God's perfect will. The eternal Son became the perfect Man to demonstrate to sinners like you and me - who would be saved by grace through faith in Christ - just HOW we should live, as children of God.
Day by day, we are being conformed into the image and likeness of Christ Himself, as we abide in Him and He in us. Peter gives a list of the beautiful characteristics that our Heavenly Father desires all His blood-bought sons and daughters to display in their daily lives. We are in the world, but we are not of the world and should show forth the divine characteristics that are ours in and through our new life in Christ.
Peter explained, in previous verses, that we who have been called by His own glory and grace, have escaped the corruption that is in the world - by faith. We have been given all we need for life and godliness - by faith. And because we are His sons and daughters, we should make every effort to supplement our faith with goodness, our goodness with knowledge, our knowledge with self-control, our self-control with endurance, and our endurance with godliness.
One would have thought that godliness would have been the ultimate objective in a Christian's life... but Peter continues, "and to your godliness, add brotherly kindness, and to your brotherly kindness - add LOVE." Love is the fulfilment of God's law in our lives. Loving others in the same way that Christ loved us, is the commandment that He gave to each one of us.
Godliness should be the objective of a believer - where a practical holiness honours the Lord our God with all our heart and soul and mind and strength - but godliness should manifest love. And love for our perfect God must develop into love for an imperfect humanity.
We are to demonstrate Christ-like tenderness and brotherly kindness to our imperfect brothers and sisters in Christ: "For by this will all men know that we are Christ's disciples."
God requires perfection from us and this is an impossibility in our own fallen nature - but we are being made a new creature in Christ and have been clothed in His righteousness by faith. We have received His eternal, resurrected life and we have been given His perfect sinless nature - through which the supernatural love of God can be manifested.
When we die to self and all that the sin-soaked nature of our old life in Adam represents, we are enabled, by the Spirit of God, to live in newness of life, through Christ Jesus our Lord. Let us reckon ourselves dead to sin and all that the old sin nature represents and let us reckon ourselves alive to God in Jesus Christ our Lord - so that by His power we may love the Lord our God with all our heart - and in His name, add to that godliness, brotherly kindness, and progress from brotherly kindness to the divine love - that is ours in Christ Jesus.
Heavenly Father, thank You that while I was a condemned sinner and dead in trespasses and sins - Christ died for me. I thank You that by faith I have been born again into Your family and become Your child. May I grow in grace and manifest all the Christ-like characteristics that You desire of all Your children. Help me to love and reverence You as You deserve - and enable me, I pray, to add to that godliness, brotherly kindness, and give me the grace to progress from brotherly kindness to the godly love which is ours in Christ Jesus our Lord, in Whose name I pray, AMEN.